Ask Sharleen: My Friend is a Train Wreck, Should I Stop Her?

Sharleen Joynt—opera singer, former Bachelor contestant and all-around cool girl—answers your most pressing matters of the heart. This month: how to help a friend without pissing her off

Sharleen Joynt
(Illustration: Spiros Halaris)

(Illustration: Spiros Halaris)

On a Collision Course
I have a good friend who is similar to Amy Schumer’s character in Trainwreck—she drinks a lot and goes home with guys she wouldn’t have been interested in when sober. I feel for her, because she has yet to have a serious relationship, and she thinks this is weird at her age (25). Most of her friends are on their way to getting hitched, so I’m sure she feels alone. She’s told me guys quickly lose interest, and this makes her insecure. When we go out, I feel responsible for her, but I also can’t tell her not to go home with a guy if she wants to. How do I handle this?

Sharleen: True friendship means telling your girlfriend when she has spinach in her teeth, when one dress suits her better than another and, yes, when she is at risk of becoming the drunken floozie no one takes seriously. OK, so those examples vary greatly in gravity—and in difficulty to address. But I’ve never been one of those women who only blows smoke up her friends’ asses. You’re right to not play Mom; at the end of the day, she’s free to make her own mistakes. And 25 is young! Maybe she wants to live her twenties to the fullest, which is no less respectable than being married at 25. However, if you know her patterns are the cause and effect of insecurity, a gentle but direct comment can hopefully inspire self-reflection. But timing is key. Mention it in the moment; if she tells you she’s going home with some random guy, ask her kindly if she’d be as interested in him if she were sober. (Avoid coming off even the slightest bit critical, condescending or judgmental.) If she seems defensive, say that you hate seeing her get hurt and that there’s no harm in just giving the guy her number. Remind her that her company is worth pursuing. If she’s as good a friend to you as you evidently are to her, she’ll appreciate the sentiment—there’s no wrong way to tell her she’s lovable.

For more from Sharleen, visit flare.com/sharleen. Have a question? Email it to editor@flare.com, tweet us @FLAREfashion or post it on our Facebook page. Then look for her reply in a future issue!

More from Sharleen Joynt:
When Should I Stop Making the Next Move?
My BF Is a Heavy Pot-Smoker, Should I Leave Him?
How Do I Get Back in the Dating Game After Years?
Dating Rich and Ditching the Friend Zone

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